More women in Colorado State’s College of Engineering

The College of Engineering is set to produce more female engineers than ever before, with a 63 percent spike in the number of women in its programs.

That’s because of an enrollment initiative taken up by the university in 2007, said CSU Director of College Strategic Communications, Kathleen Baumgardner.

“We had hit a low in terms of incoming freshmen women,” said Baumgardner. “The percentage of our undergraduate women was below the national average.”

She added that those numbers changed after the engineering department began an initiative to recruit more women. This involved hiring several Engineering College ambassadors and student employees to help other students learn about engineering and to help female classmates understand the different opportunities they could seize with an engineering degree.

“We want them to ask the question, ‘What is engineering and why could this be a good fit for me?’” Baumgardner said.

She explained that different aspects of engineering appeals more to women in particular, such as improving the environment and improving human health.

The college’s initiative garnered national attention from the Women in Engineering and Advocates Network (WEPAN), which recently awarded CSU the Women in Engineering Initiative Award.

The honor recognizes an outstanding project or initiative that serves as a recruitment model for other organizations.

The men in the College of Engineering don’t seem to mind the change either, said biomedical mechanical sophomore and engineering ambassador Evan Siebenmorgen.

“It’s nice to have a different perspective, because a lot of things from a man’s perspective is a lot different than a woman’s,” Siebenmorgen said. “Having women to work with creates a better learning environment.”

Junior mechanical engineering major Joslyne Lovelace, who has been an ambassador since her freshman year, said she has seen a great improvement in the number of women in the department since her first year.

“Five years ago we had 48 incoming female freshmen,” Lovelace said, “This year we had 140.”

Lovelace said she is usually one of only three or four woman in a class of 130, a statistic that she believes can be further improved by reaching out to young women coming in as freshmen.

“I try to inform girls in highschool of what we do,” Lovelace said, “and inform them that it’s something that they can do too. It’s another major to consider”

Collegian Writer Erik Carman can be reached at news@collegian.com.